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Ward 2 by-election may be called in Norfolk County

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A municipal by-election could be held in a couple months in Langton-area Ward 2.

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Norfolk council directed the clerk’s department to prepare for a mid-term vote to replace long-serving representative Roger Geysens.

Geysens was the inaugural councillor for Ward 2 with the advent of the new Norfolk County in 2001. He tendered his resignation last month, effective Dec. 31.

“I want to express my gratitude for the support I have been provided during my tenure and want you to know it has been a privilege to serve the people of this region,” Geysens said in his letter of resignation, which came to council on Jan. 19.

If there is going to be an election, Vittoria Coun. Chris VanPaassen said the county should aim for early spring.

VanPaassen noted that Ward 2 in the northwest corner of the municipality is primarily agricultural in character. VanPaassen said farmers in Ward 2 will be pre-occupied with the growing season ahead come April.

“We’d like to have an election as soon as possible so it doesn’t get in the way of planting,” VanPaassen said.

Mayor Kristal Chopp said a by-election may pose logistical issues. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chopp suggested it may be wise to waive the requirement for candidates to collect 25 signatures endorsing their candidacy or allow candidates to come up with these endorsements by email or some other means.

For his part, Delhi Coun. Mike Columbus said Geysens’ departure represents the end of an era in Ward 2.

“I will certainly miss him,” said Columbus, who is the last member of Norfolk council elected in the county’s inaugural year of 2001.

“I worked with him from Day 1 of Norfolk council. I wish him well in his retirement, He certainly deserves it.”

Norfolk council was to learn more about its options on Jan. 26. These include appointing a replacement or leaving Geysens’ seat vacant until the next municipal election in the fall of 2022.

While the seat for Ward 2 sits vacant, there are eight votes around the council table. According to municipal rules of procedure, resolutions producing a tie vote are defeated.

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